E1 The Complacency Trap
Acceptance Of The Status QuoFalling into the trap is almost inevitable. When you first started your business, you did whatever was necessary to make your business successful. You dreamed of the day when you hit X number of customers or $X in revenue or earnings.
The Owner’s Dilemma Enjoy Your Success Or Keep GrowingAs you relax and enjoy your success, you take your foot off the business gas pedal and slow down a bit. You tell yourself it is just for a short time. You tell yourself that you will get back to growing your business after this well-deserved break.
The Complacency Trap
A Complacency Trap is like quicksand. It sucks you in slowly, and by the time you realize what has happened, your revenue has plateaued and you are again struggling.
When Growth Is Left To Chance, Your Chances Are Awfully Good There Will Be No Growth
Your business will stop growing because, without new goals, there is no motivation to do any better.
The Key To Escaping The Complacency Trap Is Changing Your Role
If you want to grow Enduring Value your role must change now. You must look at everything you are doing systematically to be certain that you have the best chance possible of creating a business you can sell for the amount of money you need when you are ready to exit.
A strategy is the direction and scope of an organization over the long term which achieves competitive advantage through its deployment of resources and competencies.
It is not about doing things better than your competition, it is about being different from your competition. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities that deliver a unique mix of value.
When you are in a Complacency Trap you work on urgent things, but nothing changes.
You must take deliberate actions to create an atmosphere that encourages growth and leads to new opportunities for you and your employees.
E2 Strategic Thinking
Enduring Competitive Advantage
The strategy you choose must give your company an Enduring Competitive Advantage.
Competitive advantage is created by the mix of factors that allow your company to produce goods or services that are better suited for your target market, or less expensive than your rivals.
Porter On Strategy
Michael Porter in his 1980 book Competitive Strategy identified 3 generic strategies for outperforming your competition in any industry: low-cost production, product innovation and differentiation, and customer focus.
Overall Cost Leadership
The first strategy is to achieve overall cost leadership in any industry through a set of functional policies aimed at this basic objective.
The second generic strategy is one of differentiating the product or service offering of your business, creating something that is perceived industry-wide as being unique.
The third generic strategy is focusing on a particular buyer group, a segment of the broader product line, or geographic market. The Focus Strategy is built around serving a particular target market very well, and each functional policy is developed with this in mind.
Many business leaders fall into the trap of treating strategy as if it was a buffet. They take a little bit of this, some of that, and a smidgen of the third. Attempting to do this is a recipe for disaster.
E3 Questions to create a strategic plan
Where Will You Compete?
Think about who you want to serve, how you want to serve them, and the problems you solve.
What Is Your Winning Aspiration?
Quite simply, this is the goal of the organization. How do you define winning? Picture what success looks like in the future.
How Will You Win?
The next step to deal with is the strategy that you are going to use to make sure you come out on top.
What Capabilities Must We Have In Place To Win?
This is the infrastructure that supports the plans you have developed.
What Management Systems And Measures Do I Need
The last of the five essential steps ensure that you have the management systems and processes you need to support and measure the success of your chosen strategy.
Strategic Planning requires time to think. If you do not have the time, I suggest that you are working on things that are urgent and you are doing somebody else's job. You must redefine your role so that you can dedicate a significant block of time every month to Strategic Planning. Once you see how your business benefits, and how you personally benefit, you will never go back to your old role.
E4 Retirement on the job
Bob’s story is similar to the stories of so many business owners I have met over the years.
Complacency is The Silent Killer.
Create stretch goals. Push your limits. Set ambitious yet realistic goals. Challenge everyone to do better and to be better. As soon as you achieve one goal, set another. It’s easier to maintain momentum than to rebuild it once it’s lost.
Learn from the best. You don’t have to make the mistakes everyone else makes, you have to make the mistakes that only you make.
Michael Mitchell, CEO, CBA, CVB
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